When we hear the name "Ireland" we automatically think of leprechauns, pots of gold, and of course, BEER! But there is so much more to Ireland. First of all, it is a beautiful island with a very interesting history. Once you start looking into the history of Ireland, it's hard to walk away. There are so many wonderful facts and traditions, it's easy to get wrapped up in the research and you start to feel like you are there on this lovely island.
Archaeologists have found relics in Ireland dating about 8,000 years. The Neolithic culture was established by tribes that came from around southern Europe and include the communal megalithic tombs of New grange and Knowth. These tombs were built in 3200BC, which makes them older than Stonehenge, and the Giza pyramids! With almost 1500km of coastline, Ireland is a wonderful place to enjoy any kind of water sport and the beaches are breathtaking. Since there is so much coastline, the fishing villages are abundant.
Ireland's Patron Saint was Saint Patrick, which is where Saint Patrick's Day comes from. But did you know that Saint Patrick wasn't actually from Ireland? No, he wasn't. He was brought to Ireland from Britain by Irish raiders and forced to work as a shepard, but when he finally escaped the capture, God told Saint Patrick to return to Ireland to be a missionary. And so Saint Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland all those years ago. You can still find relics and evidence of this all over the island today.
In 1845, a great famine broke out because of a blight that affected the potato crops, and lasted four years. More than one million people died during those four years, due to starvation, and diseases such as the horrible typhus were working on taking the lives of the few survivors. Around 1848 people began to leave Ireland in hopes of survival. By 1850, approximately six million of them had left their beautiful home to find better lives in other countries.
The Irish flag is tri-colored with green, white, and orange. It may look a little plain, but it's what it stands for that means so much. The color green is there to represent the Roman Catholics, the color orange is for the Protestants, and the white strip in the middle represents the peace between the two religious views. In 1937, when the Irish constitution was introduced, they made the tricolor flag the formal flag of Ireland. However, it is not the formal flag of Northern Ireland. The Union flag is the official flag of Northern Ireland, although most times the tricolor is used to represent the northern part of the Island.
The Leprechauns are a type of fairy creature, told of for centuries. Although no actual leprechaun exists, the myth is told out of fun and tradition. The Irish love the little fabled "wee folk" and their hidden pots of gold. Telling the stories of the little shoe-making green men in buckled shoes will delight listeners of all ages.